Voters will decide the future of abortion rights in Michigan during the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court voted to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. That meant the decision to regulate or ban abortions went to the states.
Michigan had a 1931 law on the books that banned nearly all abortion care in the state and declared it felonious. Several lawsuits blocked enforcement of that ban.
In July, Reproductive Freedom for All submitted more than 700,000 signatures to put an abortion rights proposal on the ballot. The number of signature submitted broke the record in the state. The initiative only needed to gather 425,059 valid signatures of registered Michigan voters.
Proposal 3 is supported by the ACLU of Michigan, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and Michigan Voices. Opposition groups include Right to Life Michigan, and the Michigan Catholic Conference.
Read the text of Proposal 22-3
Below is the text of the proposal as it will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot:
A proposal to amend the state constitution to establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make all decisions about pregnancy and abortion; allow state to regulate abortion in some cases; and forbid prosecution of individuals exercising established right.
This proposed constitutional amendment would:
- Establish new individual right to reproductive freedom, including right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy, such as prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management, and infertility;
- Allow state to regulate abortion after fetal viability, but not prohibit if medically needed to protect a patient’s life or physical or mental health;
- Forbid state discrimination in enforcement of this right; prohibit prosecution of an individual, or a person helping a pregnant individual, for exercising rights established by this amendment;
- Invalidate state laws conflicting with this amendment.
Should this proposal be adopted?
More: Full text of Michigan’s Proposal 22-3 ‘Right to Reproductive Freedom’
Establish new individual right to reproductive freedom
The proposal would establish a new right to reproductive freedom in the state constitution, including access to abortion care.
People in Michigan would have a right to make their own decisions about pregnancy including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion, miscarriage management and infertility.
According to MSU, the proposal does not require the state to take any steps related to access to those types of care, the state will not be required to direct state funding toward increasing access to the care mentioned above.
State funding for abortion care would still be illegal, according to MSU.
State can still regulate abortion after fetal viability
The state would still be allowed to regulate abortions after fetal viability, unless abortion is needed to protect the pregnant person’s life or physical or mental health.
According to MSU, the other types of care protected in the proposed amendment are governed by state and federal law. The proposed amendment would likely not affect existing reproductive freedom regulations but would protect the right to access reproductive care, meaning no future state law could make it illegal.
The proposal also doesn’t give a green light to so-called ‘partial birth abortion,’ which is extremely rare. Under federal law and upheld by the Supreme Court, which trumps state law, such an abortion is prohibited unless the mother’s life is in danger. Less than 1 percent of the 629,898 abortions nationwide in 2019 were performed beyond 21 weeks.
Read: Poll: Where Michigan voters stand on term limits, abortion rights, voting rights ballot proposals
Prohibit prosecution for exercising rights established
According to Reproductive Freedom for All, the amendment would make sure that doctors do not go to prison for providing safe medical care and ensures women will have access to reproductive health care services. During emergency situations,
“In emergency situations, doctors need to act, and Proposal 3 will stop politicians from getting in between women and their doctors” Reproductive Freedom for All said.
Which state laws would this invalidate?
According to MSU, the amendment is not likely to invalidate existing abortion laws, except for the 1931 abortion ban.
In September, a Michigan Court of Claims judge declared the 1931 law banning most abortions as unconstitutional. The permanent injunction bars the state attorney general and county prosecutors from enforcing the nearly century-old law that makes most abortion care felonious in Michigan. The judge said the 1931 law violates people’s right to bodily integrity as outlined in the state constitution by preventing them from receiving necessary health care.
Read more: Groups say Michigan abortion amendment invalidates nearly 50 laws -- here’s what experts are saying
Proposal would not change laws around parental consent for abortion
The proposal would not change laws around parental consent for abortion for people under the age of 18, which is currently state law.
According to Michigan Courts, under the current law “a person shall not perform an abortion on a minor without first obtaining the written consent of the minor and one of the parents or the legal guardian of the minor.”
If a parent or legal guardian is not available or refuses to give consent, or if the minor chooses not to seek consent, the minor can ask the court for a waiver of parental consent. Click here to learn more about the waiver of parental consent for an abortion.
The laws around parental consent for abortion are under the Parental Rights Restoration Act, Act 211 of 1990.